Rwanda: Mocha Cafe Brings Yemeni Flavour to Kigali

Mocha Café, the entrant into Kigali's restaurant scene is turning out to be the proverbial breath of fresh air.

Opened about two months ago, the café is located in Gacuriro's Vision 2020 estate along 21 KG 439 Street, in a heavy traffic suburban neighbourhood.

It is owned and run by a Yemeni couple, and the setting is quite homely a cross between living and commercial space.

It has a grassy front garden, a driveway and a tent that houses the outdoor café with handmade minimalist wooden chairs. I opted for the indoor which was cosier with imigongo art, books and statuettes adorning the walls.

I ordered a Qishr, a Yemeni traditional hot drink made of coffee shells and spices, hummus plate with meat and a Shakshuka--a dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chilli pepper and garlic and commonly spiced with cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper and nutmeg.

My order was served in less than 10 minutes. The Qishr was delightfully tasty, served in a coffee pot with a small cup.

It had a lighter tea-like flavour with less than coffee. The owner explained that it is made from coffee bean husks and shells rather than the actual coffee beans and is customarily spiced with ginger and cinnamon to give it more flavour.

The hummus with meat did not disappoint. The spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic was creamy and tangy. It meshed well with the minced meat and was served with a chapati, which I preferred over bread. The chapati was a little hard but tasty.

The Shakshuka was served with chapati too and turned out to be quite filling meal without being heavy in the stomach.

Mocha Café also serves contemporary American and Italian dishes, and a couple of vegan options for those who don't eat meat.

For a family outing,there is a mini-playground for children in the back yard.

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